Nurses' Malpractice: Increase in Defendents & Professional Conduct - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1398 Words
Date:  2023-03-04


Professional conducts relate to one's behaviours when performing professional activities. The code of professional nurse conduct outlines the expected behavior that nurse practitioners should uphold in their daily business. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of nurses that are named in malpractice lawsuits as defendants. According to the National Practitioner Data Bank between the periods of 1998 to 2001, their number of a malpractice paid by nurses increased from 253 to 413 (Shenai, Joseph, & Kachappillil, 2019). The trend does not seem to slow down despite the efforts by the nurse educators to inform the students and practitioners of their limitation and responsibilities. A charge of negligence on nurse practitioner might be linked to almost any failure to act or actions that eventually result in patient injury. There can also be cases that can be triggered by the inability to adhere to a standard of clinical practice that might lead to malpractice. One area that has experienced a high level of incidence is nursing home neglect.

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Negligence in Nursing Practice

In nursing home neglect is often taken as abuse in many ways. In many cases, nursing home neglect is considered as intent to course harm to the elderly. However, nursing neglect is defined as sub-standard care or breach of the duty or that eventually lead to injury to the patients. In the case where assisted or medical nursing staff employed in a nursing home fails to provide the required standard of care to the patients, then issues of abuse or neglect might arise. Negligence might occur in cases of financial abuse, physical abuses, and emotional abuse. Studies show that about 2.5 million American are victims of elderly violations by way of negligence from nursing care homes (Shenai, Joseph, & Kachappillil, 2019). Most of the resident in the homes are older, and thus they fail to voice their concerns due to their lack of a proper way to explain their circumstance. It is with this that the cases are mostly unreported. However, for nurse practitioners, it is essential to understand that any evidence of negligence could result in a legal suit. Several types of negligence occur in the care home that a nurse should avoid.

Physical Abuse of Elderly Patients

Physical abuse can be understood as the use of physical violence or force that might lead to pain, bodily harm, injury or any impairment to the victim. In the elderly home, physical abuse might also include assault or battery. One can notice evidence of physical violence by observing evidence of unexplained cuts, wounds, bite marks, burn marks, scratches or sores on the body (Shenai, Joseph, & Kachappillil, 2019). These marks can often be visible in the areas that are commensurable with self-defence. In the cases that a resident in the care homes has signs of scars or wounds that the caretaker or the nursing home director cannot explain then, there might be a case of physical abuses for the nursing home staff. Such circumstances might thus require the nurse practitioners to report the incident. Besides, it is the role of the nurse practitioner to take action that focuses on resolving the issue.

Emotional Abuse and Non-Verbal Abuses

There can also be cases of emotional abuse and non-verbal abuses of the elderly patients. Emotional abuse in homes of assisted living facilities is also referred to as elder psychological abuses. Unlike physical harm, such type of damage is quite hard to notice since there are no signs of moving violations. The injuries can be verbal as well as non-verbal. In many cases, the members of staff in the nursing home might terrorize, humiliates, or even ridicule the residents. The instances of abuse might also involve the nursing home staff ignoring a resident and isolating them from the social activities (Shenai, Joseph, & Kachappillil, 2019). As nurse practitioners, one is required to provide sufficient care to the patients and not to abuse the residents. However, one can notice signs of emotional abuses by observing the cases of low self-esteem, sudden mood changes and lack of eye conduct. Just like any other type of injuries, emotional abuse can lead to a nurse being sued for negligence and even lose their license.

Financial Exploitation in Nursing Homes

Another case of negligence in the nursing home is financial exploitation. Cases of discrepancies between the personal standards of living and the asserts and unexplained depletion of asserts might account for negligence for nursing practitioners. Other examples might also include unexplained financial transaction, missing personal property items and even unexplained changes in the living arrangement within the homes (Jacoby & Scruth, 2017). The cases can also include a new roommate or a new location. The nursing practitioners are required to act in a manner that does not constitute negligence in any of the activities in the care homes. As explained, cases of negligence might also include the lack of action from the part of the nurse. Failing to take action when required might constitute negligence.

Code of Professional Practice for Nurses

According to the international council of the nurse, the nurse has the role of safeguarding and ensuring the quality of care in the nursing home. They are required to provide a safe environment that translates to not only physical environment by the psychological, social and financially protection of the patients (Brous, 2019). Nurse practitioners are regulated, and the significant role of the regulation is the protection of the profession and the public. Therefore, the nurse is required to follow the code of professional practice that necessitates the need for respect and dignity for each person. Besides, the nurses are required to engage in the responsible and accountable method. Different organizations have developed different codes for the care of the elderly (Brous, 2019). Therefore, the nurse is required to have an understanding of these different codes. Nurses are thus needed to self-regulate to ensure dignity and respects are the central component of all the contact and promote the delivery of care. The nurses are also required to report any cases of abuse that might arise in care homes.


Elderly abuse is a complex issue that occurs in all environmental setting and requires nurses caring for the elderly to detect its occurrence and take appropriate action. The world is currently experiencing a transition in the demographics, but the fundamental right for all human beings is to live in a safe environment. For the elderly, the cases of abuse might differ in different ways as compared to damage to other ages. It is also important to note that these people might not have much time and might have challenge communicating cases of abuse. However, the role of the nurse should be to ensure that they get a suitable living environment, even in the cases where they cannot point out the abuses. Besides, the issue of declining health and decreasing dependence might often change the fundamental relationship with families. Such cases might increase dependence in care homes. Therefore the failure of nurses to provide the required care might be detrimental to this population.


Brous, E. (2019). The Elements of a Nursing Malpractice Case, Part 3A: Causation. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 119(11), 54-59.

Jacoby, S. R., & Scruth, E. A. (2017). Negligence and the Nurse: The Value of the Code of Ethics for Nurses. Clinical Nurse Specialist, 31(4), 183-185.

Shenai, S. N., Joseph, J., & Kachappillil, A. J. (2019). Knowledge of Staff nurses regarding Legal aspects of patient care. Asian Journal of Nursing Education and Research, 9(1), 143-145.

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Nurses' Malpractice: Increase in Defendents & Professional Conduct - Research Paper. (2023, Mar 04). Retrieved from

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